Promoting financial inclusiveness and supporting infrastructure investments are two of the most impactful aspects that the livestock sector in India had long been waiting for.
MUMBAI, 20 February 2018: Promoting financial inclusiveness and supporting infrastructure investments are two of the most impactful aspects that the livestock sector in India had long been waiting for.
“These two are going to be the game-changers in the next few years for further strengthening our competitiveness”, said B Soundararajan, Chairman of CLFMA of India, the apex industry association representing India’s livestock sector.
In the recent Union Budget 2018 – 19, the Finance Minister announced several proactive initiatives including extension of Kisan Credit Card (KCC) to livestock farmers and also setting up of an Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF).
The animal husbandry sector, which includes poultry, dairy, aquaculture and other livestock, contributes more than a fourth of the Agricultural GDP of the country. Despite the uncertainty in growth in agriculture, which is predominantly dependent on rainfall, share of livestock in the GVA (Gross Value Added) in agriculture actually rose from 22% in 2011-12 to 26% in 2015-16.
“There would be several multi-dimensional positive impacts of growing the share to 40% over the next 4 – 5 years in terms of overall economic growth, poverty reduction, improving food and nutritional security and also mitigating malnutrition by enhancing affordability of protein to the consumers”, Soundararajan commented.
As well-documented and acknowledged by eminent social scientists and economists, livestock act as ‘insurance’ for the farmers and save them from taking extreme decisions during difficult times. This stands to prove beyond doubt the critical role livestock industry plays in doubling the farmers’ incomes that it is one of the most impactful means to improve profits of the farmers and most importantly, sustain the growth in future.
KCC will enhance overall financial inclusiveness particularly, the small and marginal farmers who are more vulnerable to distress of multiple kinds. It will help livestock farmers secure finance from formal sources and also save them from exploitation by unscrupulous players. Soundararajan further added “CLFMA applauds the Government for taking such proactive initiatives and announcing the scheme to build much-needed infrastructure that will take the livestock industry to the next level of growth.
“Availability of funding is a crucial factor in a farmer’s life since he has everything at stake. CLFMA welcomes a scheme that is efficient and ensure meeting a farmer’s financial needs for building his or her farm infrastructure at the right time when he or she needs. Hence we suggest NABARD would be the best way to simplify implementation and administration of the scheme in coordination with the commercial banks that already have wider and deeper reach.
CLFMA is completely in favour of supporting the most vulnerable sections – small and marginal farmers – to lift them out of distress and potential crises. Hence, we suggest the scheme to have wider reach to as many number of such farmers as possible. It is suggested that the subsidy amount may be upto Rs. 5 Lakh OR 50% of the total project cost. This will not only ensure the most needed ones are served and also has wider reach and greater impact socially and economically.
Further, Soundararajan opined, “As the livestock farmers are served by an array of input provides such as feed mills, hatcheries, breeder farms, machinery suppliers, processing plants etc, it is important to consider these sub-sectors also to create a holistic and more sustainable socio-economic impact of the fund”. With appropriate policy support, this will be a great booster to the players involved in the industry to expand their existing capacities as well as attract new investments significantly.
“Ultimately, the farmers are going to reap the benefits that inputs will become more affordable; wastage in supply chain gets reduced significantly; and farmers’ net incomes will rise as their output volumes and quality are improved. Further, this will pave way for mechanization and result in improving productivity in agriculture and allied sectors, perhaps the most important need for the country currently”, Soundararajan added.